If you aren't doing Vipassana...

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If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby yuuki » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:59 pm

I'm still in the middle of getting educated about vipassana meditation (and whether I want to do it at all), and I'd like to put that whole issue aside and ask: if you aren't doing vipassana meditation, then what meditation instructions (if any) are you following or inspired by?

Right now my meditation is a mixture of just resting and trying to calm the mind.

When I'm resting I just relax and don't try to "accomplish" anything.

When I'm calming the mind I generally do things to alleviate stress in the body or in my feelings, and try to inject positive qualities into the breath.

Great thanks to everyone!
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:50 pm

Hi yuuki,

are you mindful and/or do you concentrate on a certain meditationobject like the breath or something else?
Do you notice what happens and/or do you know or try to know any thought that comes by?
Do you try not to be distracted by content of senses and thoughts but concentrate to examine the nature of phenomena?
Is the mind getting calm instead of agitated?
Do you let go of things or try to let go?
Do you learn something about the nature of phenomena, its impermanents and/or its unpleasantness and/or its emptiness of a self?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.

:anjali:
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:35 pm

Hello yuuki,

Often yogis can find Vipassana too "dry" - and particularly in the West, we have a problem not experienced in modern Asian or Ancient cultures - that of not loving ourselves. We are inculcated with the idea that loving oneself is a form of conceit - whereas the Buddha taught not to differentiate between self and others with regard to metta. You may like to make Metta meditation your main practice – it is an effective vehicle leading to Liberation.

My favourite audio of the chant from Amaravati (which we also use at Dhammagiri Forest Monastery):
Brahma Viharas – Andrew Quernmore
http://www.vipassana.com/audio_files/bvra.php

Meditation on Loving-Kindness (Metta) - Bhante Gunaratana
http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/ ... ess_metta/

The Practice of Metta in Insight Meditation
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... tation.htm

Metta The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love by Acharya Buddharakkhita
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el365.html

Loving-kindness
http://www.buddhanet.net/metta.htmindness meditation

Mettāhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mett%C4%81

The Practice of Loving-Kindness (Metta) As Taught by the Buddha in the Pali Canon compiled and translated by Ñanamoli Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el007.html

Audio ~ The Gift of Metta – Loving-kindness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=e ... re=related

with metta
Chris
Last edited by cooran on Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby thecap » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:43 pm

What's wrong with the meditations Buddha himself taught? :)
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:00 pm

Hello thecap,

Can you write more fully on what your understanding is?

with metta
Chris
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby bodom » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:07 pm

If you arent doing vipassana any other meditation you are doing would be considered samatha. You might also want to check out this thread.

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3019

:anjali: :anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:58 pm

Hello Bodom, all,

Bodom said: If you arent doing vipassana any other meditation you are doing would be considered samatha.


I think I agree with Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Ajahn Tiradhammo on this:

The Path of Concentration & Mindfulness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Many people tell us that the Buddha taught two different types of meditation -- mindfulness meditation and concentration meditation. Mindfulness meditation, they say, is the direct path, while concentration practice is the scenic route that you take at your own risk because it's very easy to get caught there and you may never get out. But when you actually look at what the Buddha taught, he never separates these two practices.
http://www.buddhacommunity.org/concentration1.htm

The Practice of Metta in Insight Meditation by Ajahn Tiradhammo
http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... tation.htm

with metta
Chris
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---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby bodom » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:06 pm

I think i agree with Ajahn Chah as well.

Ajahn Chah

Q:You have said that samatha and vipassana or concentration and insight are the same. Could you explain this further?

Answer: It is quite simple. Concentration (samatha)and wisdom (vipassana)work together. First the mind becomes still by holding on to a meditation object. It is quiet only while you are sitting with your eyes closed. This is samatha and eventually this samadhi-base is the cause for wisdom or vipassana to arise. Then the mind is still whether you sit with your eyes closed or walk around in a busy city. It's like this. Once you were a child. Now you are an adult. Are the child and the adult the same person? You can say that they are, or looking at it another way, you can say that they are different. In this way samatha and vipassana could also be looked at as separate. Or it is like food and feces. Food and feces could be called the same and they can be called different. Don't just believe what I say, do your practice and see for yourself.
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby bodom » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:24 pm

If one were to reach jhana and would not come out and use that jhana as the basis for insight to arise would that still be considered vipassana, samatha or both? If one were to stay stuck in that jhana and not come out to practice vipassana when and were would insight arise? I think its a very fine line between the two.

As one Sri Lankan meditation master explains, "A jhana attainer may remain attached to the bliss and calm of the jhanas and fail to take up insight meditation. Here one should specially bear in mind that not only jhanic bliss but even birth in the Brahma-worlds… is impermanent. The aim of Buddhism is not serenity but the peace of… Nibbana, which is attainable only through insight-wisdom. Hence one should devote oneself to insight meditation" (Ven. Matara Sri Nanarama Mahathera, The Seven Contemplations of Insight, Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1997, p. 129).

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby bodom » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:00 pm

After all the Buddha attained and mastered all the jhanas including the immaterials under his first two teachers and still did not reach nibbana. Where is the insight in jhana?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:20 pm

yuuki wrote:I'm still in the middle of getting educated about vipassana meditation (and whether I want to do it at all), and I'd like to put that whole issue aside and ask: if you aren't doing vipassana meditation, then what meditation instructions (if any) are you following or inspired by?

Right now my meditation is a mixture of just resting and trying to calm the mind.

When I'm resting I just relax and don't try to "accomplish" anything.

When I'm calming the mind I generally do things to alleviate stress in the body or in my feelings, and try to inject positive qualities into the breath.

Great thanks to everyone!


Head & Heart Together - Bringing Wisdom to the Brahma-viharas by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
If you get your head and your heart to respect each other, they can take each other far. Your heart needs the help of your head to generate and act on more skillful emotions. Your head needs your heart to remind you that what's really important in life is putting an end to suffering. When they learn how to work together, they can make your human mind into an unlimited brahma-mind. And more: They can master the causes of happiness to the point where they transcend themselves, touching an uncaused dimension that the head can't encompass, and a happiness so true that the heart has no further need for desire.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... heart.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby yuuki » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:52 am

acinteyyo wrote:are you mindful and/or do you concentrate on a certain meditationobject like the breath or something else?

I'm a little reluctant to touch on mindfulness, given that some teachers say samma sati is remembering what you need to remember to get your chosen task done. And then we have the teachers that say samma sati is insight meditation, with noting etc.

I do focus on the breath, or when I have difficulty calming down I work on metta or chant the dhammapada.
acinteyyo wrote:Do you notice what happens and/or do you know or try to know any thought that comes by?
I generally look for the effects of what I am doing, but I usually avoid thoughts that might lead me off track.

acinteyyo wrote:Do you try not to be distracted by content of senses and thoughts but concentrate to examine the nature of phenomena?
I don't examine the nature of phenomena much, other than trying to find specific causes that might help me calm the mind
acinteyyo wrote:Is the mind getting calm instead of agitated?
Sometimes I get calm, but not anything I would classify as an altered state of consciousness :)
acinteyyo wrote:Do you let go of things or try to let go?
I don't usually try to let go until I see some kind of stress, I guess? The biggest thing I struggle to let go of is my posture. I'm always trying to flex the right muscles so that I can get into the right posture. It's very distracting!
acinteyyo wrote:Do you learn something about the nature of phenomena, its impermanents and/or its unpleasantness and/or its emptiness of a self?
No. The result of my practice is usually a sense of well-being.

cooran wrote:You may like to make Metta meditation your main practice – it is an effective vehicle leading to Liberation.

I'm really into the brahma-viharas! I had an interesting experience with metta before I got started with Buddhism, and I think it's why I'm a Buddhist today. It was interesting because I felt that I sort of opened up to the world, and nothing seemed in disagreement or contradiction. It wasn't like I was detached or ignoring problems, but rather whenever there was a problem my mind would immediately look for win-win solutions. After learning some Buddhism I looked back and realized that for many days the hindrances had been absent, which is mentioned as an effect of jhana-like states.

Are jhana and metta separate experiences, or is metta enough to produce jhana experiences?
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:22 am

yuuki wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:are you mindful and/or do you concentrate on a certain meditationobject like the breath or something else?

I'm a little reluctant to touch on mindfulness, given that some teachers say samma sati is remembering what you need to remember to get your chosen task done. And then we have the teachers that say samma sati is insight meditation, with noting etc.


who says mindfulness is noting?

noting is a method for developing insight and mindfulness, not mindfulness itself.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:23 am

Hello yuuki,

yuuki said: Are jhana and metta separate experiences, or is metta enough to produce jhana experiences?


You might be interested in acquiring these mp3's of a Retreat on Metta and Jhanas from the Bhavana Society:

Jhana Meditation Bhante Gunaratana
http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/ ... editation/

with metta
Chris
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---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby Ben » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:34 am

Hi Yuuki
yuuki wrote:if you aren't doing vipassana meditation, then what meditation instructions (if any) are you following or inspired by?

Its hard to imagine because i've been practicing vipassana for so long. But in answering your question, I woul practice the samatha variant of anapana-sati as per my teacher's instructions. A teacher within our tradition, Saya Thet Gyi, apparently practiced samatha variant of anapana-sati under the guidance of Venerable Ledi Sayadaw for seven years before moving on to Vipassana.
metta

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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby yuuki » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:54 am

cooran wrote:You might be interested in acquiring these mp3's of a Retreat on Metta and Jhanas from the Bhavana Society:

Jhana Meditation Bhante Gunaratana
http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/ ... editation/


Wow, these CDs look really awesome. I wonder if they're available electronically?

There is quite a bit of Bhante Gunaratana's work available online, so I'll check those sources out first. I know the Bhavana Society needs donations like every other organization, but I'd love to see it not solicited in the CD order form, and it seems that the appeal for donations is also the reason they aren't available for download. At the bottom it says "Please keep in mind the expense for international postage." ... well I'm in Japan and I could receive these electronically for much less cost. If it's about the bandwidth cost, there are many willing to host material like this free of cost.

(An aside, directed at no-one in particular:) Just because obligation is absent doesn't make me feel like I'm engaging in generosity. Strangely, I feel reluctant to pay or donate for free dhamma works, although I don't mind paying for movies, books, etc. I feel like the proper response to dhamma freely given is to take it seriously, practice heedfully, and give to others. Eventually maybe I will be in the position to pass along the dhamma I've learned.
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:42 am

Hello yuuki,

They are available on the same website for download.
Just scroll down until you find them:
http://www.bhavanasociety.org/list/category/MP3s/

metta
Chris
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby drew » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:46 am

Hello Yuuki,
I have found that not getting caught up in concepts (like Vipassana or Samatha) to be very useful when practicing meditation.
You say you sit and try not to accomplish anything.
This is a great place to start.
Expectations are a sure way to agitate the mind!
I find if I just use simple awareness (Sati) and stay with the breath, or with the body sensations (Vedana) once the sati increases, and try to remain equanimous (Upeka) with whatever arises (pain, pleasant sensations) then things naturally fall into place.
My concentration, mindfulness and equanimity increase without any effort, and once this happens I can turn my practice to realising the truth - impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and the impersonal nature of all phenomena (Anicca, dukkha and anatta).
I suggest you do an intensive retreat as a deep practice is all but impossible if you have a busy life full of responsibilities.
And the rest of the time treat your mind like a little puppy - once you realise you have been distracted gently pull it back to the breath.
If necessary breath harder than usual, or follow the breath in and out of the body.
As the mind gets concentrated focus on a smaller area (nostils are good).
Once you are practicing deeply you will find your whole body is constantly changing, and you can examine yourself like a scientist experimenting.
For me, as I said, this is only possible when doing intensive practice, the rest of the time I just try to be as mindful as possible and remain equanimous.
Good luck.
The Buddhadhamma is a real treasure, we are all so lucky :)
The gift of the Dhamma excels all gifts (DP354)
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:55 pm

i agree with ajahn sujato here, other's may not, to each his own...

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: If you aren't doing Vipassana...

Postby bodom » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:44 am

I agree with Sujato. Meditate instead of arguing over meditation.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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